“The digital transformation promises the healthcare ecosystem huge savings”

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The federal government has just announced the new health insurance premiums, putting healthcare costs back in the public spotlight. Philipp Wolfensberger of AXA Healthcare gives some tips on how to save on your premiums.

“Healthcare and health insurance” currently rank No. 2 on the Swiss people’s list of worries. Rightly so?

Philipp Wolfensberger: I understand that these costs eat into people’s budgets, especially those of families. In terms of quality, our healthcare system is among the best in the world – and that comes at a price. But we can’t simply accept the fact that the costs continue to rise every year. Personally, I believe it’s about time for a major overhaul. The digital transformation promises the healthcare ecosystem huge savings, and they are far from being used up.

AXA itself doesn’t offer basic insurance cover. Why?

Thus far, our model has worked well. But nothing is set in stone. We are closely monitoring healthcare market trends and may indeed make adjustments in the future.

What is AXA doing to ensure its customers can save on their premiums?

Many people are unaware that all basic insurance plans have to offer the same benefits – that’s required by law. Thanks to our unique business model, we can show our customers how to make significant savings by switching their basic insurance plan. Our switching and billing service makes it easy to be insured with two different health insurance funds because we take care of all the annoying paperwork for our customers and eliminate a lot of the red tape. What’s more, our comparison of basic insurers contains all Swiss health insurers and is thus neutral – unlike the Comparis comparison service, for instance, which is paid commission by the health insurance funds. 

What does AXA’s cheapest supplementary insurance cover cost?

At AXA, quality and customer benefit are much more important than the mere price. Our package of benefits is one of Switzerland’s best. On average, our customers pay annual premiums between CHF 700 and CHF 800. In return, the switching service brings savings in basic insurance of around CHF 500 for an individual . The actual costs are therefore just under CHF 1 per day. Health is our most valuable asset – and it’s certainly worth spending a franc a day on it.

The average premium is set to rise by just 0.2 percent in 2020 – will that soon make AXA’s switching service superfluous?

I don’t think so – the switching service will remain extremely attractive as long as there are big price-performance differences and regional differences between the different funds. 

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What can people do who want to save on their premiums and still have proper cover?

I recommend they get advice from one of our specialists. In the course of a personal talk, our AXA consultants can find out the customer’s personal requirements and work out a tailored offer to match. Another tip I have is to choose either the lowest or highest deductible – it’s a tried-and-tested way of saving money. Families can save with us too because we offer family discounts on supplementary insurance plans.

How can we keep costs as low as possible in the Swiss healthcare system?

I believe each and every one of us can do something here. If we go to the hospital emergency room for minor ailments, for instance, we are helping drive up costs. Prevention is also a very important issue. My wish is that as many people as possible do not become sick in the first place because they look after their health. 

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    Philipp Wolfensberger

    The 40-year-old business administration graduate from Zurich played a key role in establishing AXA’s healthcare unit in 2016, taking over as its head in May 2017. With his work, he wants to help raise the profile of the Swiss healthcare system again and make it affordable.

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